Great architecture combines the creative process with the functional requirements of a space, while complying with the restrictions of planning and legislation.
This is the approach we bring to every project at Nala. We continuously strive to be creative, functional and compliant at the same time – the result is a range of imaginative spaces and design solutions.
Noor Keary – Director
Noor is the lead architect at Nala Studio Architects. She is a New Zealand-trained, Registered Architect with over 13 years of experience in residential and commercial architecture.
Noor earned her Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree from the University of Auckland in 2006 and has been registered with the New Zealand Registered Architects Board since 2013.
Noor initially worked for a few well-known New Zealand architecture firms for approximately 10 years to gain experience and exposure to wide a range of architectural styles and specialisations.
In 2017 Noor founded Nala Studio Architects, bringing together over a decade of experience working for larger architecture firms with her love of creating bespoke living and working spaces.
Over the years Noor has built up a solid base of knowledge around the planning process, subdivision regulations, zoning, the Auckland Unitary Plan, regional resource consents, and city council approval processes in Auckland and Queenstown.
Nicole Toi – Graduate Architect
Nicole loves everything to do with architecture – the variety of shapes, sizes and budgets involved and the range of clients she gets to work with. She sees architecture as a wonderful balance between the end result and the journey to get there.
"To me," says Nicole, "architecture is a collaborative process. I enjoy interpreting a client's needs and wants and turning them into carefully crafted spaces and forms that create unique, personal statements."
When asked what she loves the most, Nicole is quick to answer that renovations really rock her boat. "Bringing new life or adding a different character or twist to an existing home is very rewarding and always a welcome challenge."
After completing her Master of Architecture (Professional) from the University of Auckland, Nicole started her career with an engineering consultancy firm before moving on to a couple of small architectural design firms.
Those early days surrounded by engineers rubbed off on Nicole, and she now has impeccable project management skills. "I love spreadsheets as much as thick shakes and chocolate."
In her spare time, Nicole can be found hunting for the best dessert cafes in and around Auckland. She claims to be researching urban layout and building materials, but we know she's really just trying to satisfy her sweet tooth.
Deni Solakova – Graduate Architect
Originally from Bulgaria, Deni has been making her mark in New Zealand architecture since 2018. She brings to the Nala team great international expertise in residential, commercial and industrial architecture. Deni also has experience in urban design and architectural cultural heritage.
When asked to pick a favorite, Deni tells us she enjoys residential and urban design the most. Perhaps this is because of her fascination with, as she describes it, “the power of architecture and design to create little worlds, and how silently powerful the environment we live in is”.
When she’s not working, Deni enjoys exploring and taking adventures both in the city and in nature, playing soccer, and of course, doodling. You can check out some of her amazing art on Instagram at @spark_art_live.
Andrew Knight – Architectural Designer
Andrew brings over a decade of varied experience in the New Zealand industry to the Nala Studios team. Since graduating from Unitec in 2011 with a Diploma in Architectural Technology, he has built up a vast knowledge base and worked on an impressive range of projects.
Andrew’s portfolio includes light commercial projects, large-scale residential new-builds and complex heritage renovations. He has a sharp eye for technical detail and early-stage problem solving to achieve a smoother design process that minimises any surprises during construction.
When he’s not working, Andrew can be found under water as a keen diver, or out hiking through the bush and coastlines. He spends hours dreaming up the next adventure or design project while polishing his car on the driveway.